History 671

Finally, I have some time to dow what I had planned all along.  Share information on the three courses I am taking this semester.  If you plan to go to grad school for history, you will likely take a variation of these courses, so this will be a good guide!

History 671: Graduate Seminar in Historical Research Methods is taught by Dr. David Owusu-Ansah and has been for the last 18 years.  He has told us that this is is last semester teaching it because it is someone else’s turn, but no one wants it!  The reason most of the professors do not want to teach the course is due do its difficulty.  The course is primarily the theory and philosophy of history.  Unlike undergraduate courses, lecture is not a feature of graduate courses.  We read a book or assigned articles and discuss it as a class.

All first year grad students are required to take this course in the fall semester.  There are three texts for the course:

The Idea of History – R.G. Collingwood

The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism – Max Weber

The New Cultural History – Lynn Hunt

However, the primary text is The Idea of History.  Collingwood wrote in the 1930s and discusses many issues surrounding the discipline including historical truth and objectivity.  The book is incredibly difficult to read and was the first book we discussed in class.  It is the basis of the class and everything we read is compared to Collingwood.  In addition to Collingwood, we have read works by Max Weber, Karl Marx, Gertrude Himmelfarb, and Richard Ashcraft.

In addition to seminar discussions, we have several papers due throughout the semester.  The first three papers were book reviews.  The first two were to review a book of our choice with the third reviewing five separate sources with a theme.  In a few weeks I will write a theoretical paper comparing and contrasting Weber and Marx.  The final paper in the class, the Methods paper, will discuss the writing of history and the issues faced by historians.  All papers for this class are due by Thanksgiving and our final two weeks will be used to wrap up the class.  Our final meeting will be held at a local restaurant and will be informal.

I have been assured by the second year Master’s students that HIST 671 is the most difficult class in the program.  We have struggled through this class as a group and will continue to for the next seven weeks!

Tomorrow I am heading to North Carolina for the Kevin Harvick Fan Club Gathering.  This is their tenth year and my seventh as a member.  I will post pictures from the event tomorrow or Monday.

Next week I will introduce History 592, which is a combination of undergrad and grad students.  Until then…

-Eric

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